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The defenders of Gross-Strehlitz consisted of a weak contingent of regular troops, Volkssturm and Hitler Youth, who had not been able to hold out long against the superior enemy, and had been overrun. Treating them like game, the soldiers moving in hunted down women. Whoever tried to oppose, or resist the brute force, was shot or killed in short order. This also happened to senior priest Pastor Lange, as he placed himself protectively in front of a group of women and girls. He was not the only clergyman who was killed in Gross-Strehlitz. Houses were going up in flames. In Niedersteine, 5 kilometres to the south-east, on the important trunk road no.5 to Breslau-Oppeln-Beuthen, the arrival of the Soviets surprised the population. Up to the late evening of 21 January, the Soviets were broadening their advance from there, by at least another 5 kilometres, in the direction of the Oder at Cosel-Ratibor. To the right, a short distance away, was the Annaberg, Upper Silesias holy mountain. This was an old place of pilgrimage for the devout, with an imposing Freikorps memorial, and with blood-soaked ground from the time of the resistance against the Korfanty terror. In Cosel there had been an overpowering sense of alarm from late afternoon.
In the area between Gross-Strehlitz-Tost and Tarnowitz, the Soviets had gained relatively little ground compared with the previous day. The courageous and desperate defence of the overstrained German combat units was still having its effect on the eastern flank, and also directly on the northern periphery of the industrial district. There, the Soviets, suffering considerable casualties, were either stalled or only advancing slowly. But they could increase their pressure from hour to hour by bringing up fresh forces and could eventually bring the arc of the German defence to breaking point. The Germans, until then, were still vainly hoping that at least 20th Panzer Division would arrive.
The village of Zyglin in the north-eastern part of the Tarnowitz Kreis, like the adjacent Georgenberg surrounded by large wooded areas, was occupied by 200 Soviet infantry. 8 German Luftwaffe troops who had been taken prisoner fell victim to the bloodlust of the enemy by the cemetery wall. Randsdorf, on trunk road no.5, west of Beuthen, had not been evacuated according to plan, "although there was sufficient time to have done so." During the night, before the Soviets moved in on 21 January 1945, the mayor and Party leaders of the municipality had secretly made off. In neighbouring Stillersfeld, in spite of being warned in time, only ten percent of the inhabitants could bring themselves to flee. The remaining ninety percent were relying on the hope "that it couldnt be so bad."